Movie Review : Crazy Rich Asians –– Why It Deserves All The Hype
The story follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu as she accompanies her boyfriend, Nick Young, to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. Excited about visiting Asia for the first time but nervous about meeting Nick’s family, Rachel is unprepared to learn that Nick has neglected to mention a few key details about his life. It turns out that he is not only the scion of one of the country’s wealthiest families but also one of its most sought-after bachelors. Being on Nick’s arm puts a target on Rachel’s back, with jealous socialites and, worse, Nick’s own disapproving mother taking aim. And it soon becomes clear that while money can’t buy love, it can definitely complicate things.
A Sneak Peek Into The Story :
“You sure about this?” Rachel asked again, blowing softly on the surface of her steaming cup of tea. They were sitting at their usual window table at Tea & Sympathy, and Nick had just invited her to spend the summer with him in Asia.
It was not that Rachel didn’t want to go, she wanted to travel with Nick. She had no plans to teach this summer, nor was she afraid of a little heat and humidity. It was none of the above reasons that made her question Nick’s decision to spend their time together in Singapore. It was the fact that Nick wasn’t going there solely for vacation, but also, to be the best man to his best friend who was getting married soon and she didn’t want to be a distraction.
“What distraction? Colin’s wedding is only going to take up the first week in Singapore, and then we can spend the rest of the summer just bumming around Asia. Come on, let me show you where I grew up. I want to take you to all my favorite haunts.”
Rachel could only laugh at that as Nick took another scoop of the shared chocolate pudding.
“Will you show me the sacred cave where you lost your virginity?” Rachel teased, arching an eyebrow playfully.
“Definitely! We can even stage a reenactment!” Nick laughed.
With that, the plan was made. Rachel will spend the summer in Singapore with Nick, accompanying him on his best-man duties, while enjoying and savoring Singapore with their amazing food and delicacies. And maybe, just maybe, even meet up with his friends and family and get to know the people and country that Nick grew up in.
You know what, Rachel thought to herself, this is a good opportunity to get to know Nick and his childhood more. He had never really mentioned his family in all the one year they have been dating. By visiting Singapore, Rachel will get to see firsthand just how Nick Young grew up to be the amazing, charming man that she fell in love with. This is going to be a fun trip filled with romantic dinner dates and good company.
After all, what’s the worst that could happen?
If I could sum Crazy Rich Asians up with one word, that’s the world I would use.
I went into this movie without any expectations, nor any idea about what the movie will be about other than the fact that Crazy Rich Asians has garnered a lot of hype as soon as it was released to the public. I don’t know why, but I have never felt the desire to watch this movie, in spite of how people has been going insane over just how good it was. For some reason, in mu judgmental brain, I was thinking that this is going to be yet another cheesy, romantic, predictable chick flick, but with asians –– not trying to be racist here since your girl is an asian herself.
So I chalked it off for a good few months, despite my friends keep telling me how I should give it a try. I was adamant in my belief that despite how popular Crazy Rich Asians was, I was never going to cave in and watch said movie.
And as we all now know, after basically falling head over heels for this film a few days ago, your girl turned out to be a hypocrite. *laughs*
This movie actually turned out way way way better than what I expected. Because I’m an asian myself, I watch a lot of Chinese movies –– because that’s just how I roll. The first thing I noticed in the opening scene of Crazy Rich Asians, is the fact that the directors tried to implement as much of asian-ness as possible in the movie. From the cantonese language, to the opening soundtrack, to the superstitions about meaning of clothing colors before meeting the elderly. All of that managed to bring out a sudden nostalgic feeling of homeyness and comfort that I usually get from watching Chinese movies. Which I did not expect at all, but it a very welcome surprise.
At first, I was a little skeptical about how the director is going to be able to pull off this movie, all the while catering to its asian and western audiences at the same time. However, the deeper I get into the movie, I came to the realization that the director was doing an incredible job with this movie. I love how he was not afraid to pull all the punches, including as much of the asian beliefs, traditions, and languages while also mashing it well enough with the Western culture that makes it still easy to relate and understand for viewers who don’t have a lot of understanding to the asian cultures.
Another thing that I think is worth mentioning from the Crazy Rich Asians is how much effort they put into their soundtrack. I have never really care much for movie soundtracks, but I swear to god, every time I listen to Katherine Ho’s cover of Coldplay’s Yellow, it still gave me goosebumps and managed to make me emotional every single time.
When I hear this song play in the movie, I straight up started to bawl my eyes out. After watching so many Hollywood movies, I can honestly say that this is the first time I have ever heard a mandarin song being played in a Hollywood film. And that fact alone hit home harder than I expected. The familiarity yet foreignness that envelops me at the same time while listening to this song was truly an incredible feeling.
As for the plot itself, it was engaging from start to finish. After letting this movie simmer for a while, I realize that what made the movie flow as naturally as it did was not because of the two leads, but because of the amazing supporting characters. All of them, despite my initial uncaring-ness for their roles, brought something different yet important to the table. From Rachel’s quirky, brash, yet loving best friend, Nick’s seeming cold, yet supportive cousin, to Nick’s cousin’s husband that came from a middle class family, they all eventually rubbed off on me and actually made more of an impression to me than the lead characters did.
Despite the initial worry that this was going to turn out to be an Asian Gatsby movie, I was happy with how the movie ended, despite it being a tad bit predictable. What I adore the most about this movie was the fact that it capitalized of the importance of family in the asian culture. While the western culture is much more revolved around individuality and doing things for one’s self, the epitome of asian culture can easily be summarize in one word : family.
Everything that we do, every single decisions that we make, every sacrifices that was made, were always for family. It always comes down to celebrating and appreciating family as one, which is why when it comes to asian families, you barely ever hear us say “I love you” to each other. Some of us would rather eat a bunch of bitter melons than to tell their parents I love you.
I’m not saying that this is a good thing, as I am pretty sure it isn’t. Because I would assume that it will probably be nice for parents to hear it every now and then, even though they will never ask of it from their children. But this was just how asian kids were raised. We were never really taught to express our feelings with words, but rather proving it every single day through our actions. And sometimes through good food. And I am glad that this part of the asian culture was mentioned in the movie.
The Verdict :
Honestly, if after reading the whole post I still could not manage to convince you –– even a little bit –– to give Crazy Rich Asians a try, then I must have totally failed my job as a reviewer-wanna-be.
Crazy Rich Asians is one of the movies out there that totally deserved all the hype and love that came their way. I believe it must have been a tad bit scary to take the gigantic decision to take this story from a novel to a major motion picture since there has never been a rom-com movie that have an all asian cast. But I am so happy that they took a chance with Crazy Rich Asians and it turned out to be such a hit.
With how big of a hit this movie was, Crazy Rich Asians might just be the start of a new era in Hollywood, after all.